Auto talk: Double check your car mechanic
July 7, 2013
Do you ever wonder what sorts of things are wrong with your car? Well there is a secret that is little known in this world — mechanics seem to wonder the same thing.
I wonder if mechanics look at an automobile while sipping their cup of coffee and think to themselves: "This car looks like it needs a tie rod and a pitarm. Better throw a ball joint in there as well just because.”
Or do they decide something is wrong with your car solely based on looking at a car manual that states, “At 30,000 miles, this vehicle needs its shocks, struts and brakes replaced?" Then they tell you that you need those parts replace without looking to see if they are good or not.
After experiencing some of these problems firsthand, I have given this some thought.
Let me relate a recent adventure to you that will make you ponder the secrets of the auto mechanic universe.
I purchased an automobile and it needed two new tires, so I visited a local shop. After the tires were installed, I asked that they check the alignment.
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They checked it and told me some parts on the front end were worn and they gave me a list with quotes for replacement. Being kind of a handy sort, I took the list to an auto parts store and purchased the parts.
When I went to put them on the car, I discovered that one of the parts they said I needed wasn't even bad. But more importantly, there was a part that was worn to the point of being unsafe that they didn't tell me about.
A few hours later and a couple trips to the parts store and voila — I fixed my vehicle. Now fast forward about two months and 2,000 miles give or take. I decided it was time to sell the automobile.
An older couple was interested in buying it, and they wanted a mechanic to check it out before they purchased it.
I was happy to let them take it to the mechanic of their choice, and they chose a different one from where I bought the tires. A few hours later I was holding a list in my hands of what was wrong with my vehicle.
Wouldn’t you know it? On that list were the same parts that I had replaced only two months ago. I showed the couple receipts for the parts, and I also showed them the new shiny parts on the car that I replaced. After I convinced them that I did in fact replace the parts the mechanic claimed needed replacing, the couple disregarded the mechanic’s list and purchased the vehicle anyway.
Even more interesting was the fact that I had told the couple about several things that needed maintenance and those things didn't even make it onto the list.
Now, I will let everyone draw his or her own conclusions from this adventure of mine, but there was enough irony in it to make me crack a smile. I am not and have never considered myself to be a certified mechanic.
I am simply handy enough to fix my own mechanical apparatuses as needed. But someone certified should perhaps have the consistency to diagnose all vehicles with the same precision and come up with the same conclusions on the same vehicle.
Gary Cole is a Craig resident and works at the Print Shop.